GovLaunch: Bill Introduced for Feds to Donate Sick Days to Agency Banks

Government Exec reported that on Friday legislation was introduced that would allow Federal employees to donate their unused sick leave to an agency wide leave bank. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran and Chris Van Hollen and all have stated that the bill will be nearly cost neutral. Government Executive reports:

Federal workers currently can apply accrued sick leave toward their annuity calculation in full year or month blocks, but employees nearing retirement have to use or lose any remaining sick leave. That has led to millions of dollars in annual lost productivity, according to the bill’s sponsors.

The legislation would allow feds to donate their excess sick leave to agencywide leave banks. The Federal Aviation Administration is the only federal agency that allows employees to donate both annual and sick leave. FAA employees donated more than 22,000 hours of sick leave in fiscal 2010.

Representative Conolly stated: “This is a proven policy in the private sector, and I witnessed its success firsthand during my years with Fairfax County [Va.], which has a similar policy,” Connolly said. “If the federal government is going to continue recruiting and retaining highly qualified employees, this must be part of the menu for a competitive benefits package.” I think this is a fair point, and lots of options should be put on the table for hiring reform and drive highly qualified employees to the public sector.

Would you participate in this kind of program within your agency?

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Denise Petet

We have a ‘shared leave’ program.

Basically, if a person is seriously ill and has used up all their annual and sick leave, they can apply for shared leave. There are criteria in place to look at each case on its own merits and determine a person’s availibility. (such as Mr ‘Call in sick every week’ wouldn’t be eligible as opposed to a person that takes a day or two of sick leave a year….abusers vs non-abusers)

Current employees can donate time down to a point (can’t recall the minimum but let’s just say if you have 1200 hours you can donate your sick leave as long as you leave yourself 500 or something like that), and departing employees can donate some/all of their sick leave.

Some do. We also have a ‘sick leave buyback’ when people leave….again making up the numbers but if you have at least 800 hours, you can get paid for those 800 hours (at a vastly reduced rate). So some donate leave down to that 800 hour level, then take the buyout.

it’s a fairly successful program. I think the only caveat to keeping it going is that whomever would administer it, you gotta do it right. You can’t give ‘free’ leave to a slacker/abuser that gets sick….so the criteria for awarding shared leave would need to be worded in such a way to give personnel/HR the power to get it to ‘deserving’ people while not rewarding those that may have spent most of their careers abusing sick leave.

Its like a charity and you need to make sure that the hours donated to said charity are spent in a ‘worthy’ way, or people will lose faith in it and stop donating.

Jessica Hancock

I think this sounds like an excellent idea. Many federal employees don’t realize they can’t donate their sick leave until they try the first time.